The EU patent space and Unified Court are born

Richard Bruton, Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and President of the Council, sitting in the middle, with EU Ministers participating in the signature ceremony and Commissioner Michel Barnier (standing second from right, front row). (EC Audiovisual Services).

Richard Bruton, Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and President of the Council, sitting in the middle, with EU Ministers and Commissioner Michel Barnier (standing second from right, front row) participating in the signature ceremony . (EC Audiovisual Services).

Yesterday, during the Council of the European Union meeting, twenty-two member states opened a new page in the history book of the EU, by signing the international agreement for establishing a Unified Patent Court (UPC). Once the agreement enters into force, the signatory countries will form a unified area in terms of patent law. Since the 1970s, the EU member states have been in agreement on the necessity of setting up a common system of patents. Today this became possible.

The UPC is the third element accomplishing the so-called patent package. Two regulations establishing enhanced cooperation for unitary patent protection and its translation arrangements were adopted in December 2012.

A court of six cities

The Central Division of the Court of First Instance will be in Paris. Given the highly specialised nature of patent litigation and the need to maintain high quality standards, thematic clusters will be created in two sections of the Central Division, one in London (chemistry, including pharmaceuticals, classification C, human necessities, classification A), the other in Munich (mechanical engineering, classification F). The Court of Appeal with the Registry will be in Luxembourg and the Patent Mediation and Arbitration Centre will have two seats: in Lisbon (Portugal) and Ljubljana (Slovenia).

The 22 countries that agreed to crate this new European patent space  are Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, France, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, plus 3 “participating Member States”, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Bulgaria will sign in a few days.

In four member states, the internal procedures necessary to authorise the signature are still pending, and one member state decided not to sign. All these member states can still accede to the agreement at a later date. The agreement will enter into force as soon as it has been ratified by 13 member states.

A decades old issue

So far, the litigations on the same patent case had often to be judged in multiple courts in different member states. The findings of the new court, however, will be applicable and thus achieve legal uniformity and security across the territories of all the signatory countries. By the same token, the UPC will prevent contradictory rulings and reduce the cost of patent litigation.

This complex issue has been discussed for decades, and it took a decision to allow an enhanced cooperation to solve it. This decision made it possible for this group of member states to adopt common rules when no EU-wide agreement could be reached. An enhanced cooperation procedure can be launched at the request of at least nine member states. The enhanced cooperation permits to the signatory member states to introduce a new EU law in their territories only.

The European patent

Now as for the initial deposition of a patent there is an existing European patent but it is not a unitary title. It is a bundle of national patents with no single jurisdiction for disputes. Any proceedings in relation to “bundled” European patents may be subject to diverse national laws and procedures. Consequently, claimants and defendants bear the risk of multiple litigation actions in a number of countries on the same patent issue. This can be a costly and lengthy process.

Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court

From now on the unitary patent is a single patent which does not require validation or translation in other participating member states. Neither does it need to be administered in each and every state – there is a single jurisdiction.

The Unitary Patent system will make obtaining a European Patent less complex and cheaper while ensuring legal certainty throughout the entire single jurisdiction. A single patent does not require validation or translation in other participating member states. Neither does it need to be administered in each and every state. This is why the patent system was singled out as one of the top priorities in the EU’s “Single Market Act” in April 2011.

This more affordable Europe-wide patent protection will encourage EU businesses to increase their innovation activity and is particularly good news for SMEs who have limited resources. It will also make Europe a more attractive place for investors.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

Violence in North and West Africa increasingly targeting civilian and border areas – OECD/SWAC

How COVID-19 can be the Great Reset toward global sustainability

These are the world’s least – and most – corrupt countries

Fall asleep in Vienna, wake up in Paris – Europe’s night trains make a comeback

Brazilian officer a ‘stellar example’ of why more women are needed in UN peacekeeping

London is becoming the world’s first National Park City

Mosquitoes kill more people every day than sharks do in a century

With security improving in DR Congo’s Kasai, thousands of refugees head home from Angola

Which countries get the most sleep – and how much do we really need?

EU mobilises immediate support for its Western Balkan partners to tackle coronavirus

Russia to cut gas supplies again: can the EU get back to growth without a solid energy market?

MEPs hail minimum global corporate tax rate deal as historic

EU-US ties to break over Iran; Democrats’ electoral win may not change it

UN member states express their will to tackle global migration but specific actions are still missing

Green Deal: How MEPs wish to channel EU investment to sustainable activities

New UN poverty report reveals ‘vast inequalities’ between countries

5 things weighing on the world economy, according to the IMF

Boosting the EU’s capacity to anticipate and respond to health crises

UN Member States overwhelmingly support end of US embargo against Cuba

World Malaria Day: 7 things to know about the deadly disease

COP21 Breaking News_08 December: Cities & Regions Launch Major Five-Year Vision to Take Action on Climate Change

Bayer-Monsanto merger: the story of the rise of the “endless company”

MWC 2016 LIVE: The top 5 themes of this year’s Mobile World Congress

Why good cybersecurity in business is everyone’s responsibility

Armed groups kill Ebola health workers in eastern DR Congo

This root vegetable could help alleviate hunger and end soil erosion. Here’s how

To build cities fit for the future, we need to think differently

Data will allow us to predict the future if we let it. Here’s how

Improving coverage of mental health services

Aid spending fell in 2018, for the second year in a row

The COP24 Agreement: Yes, it happened at last

Trade Committee advocates lower tariffs in Western Sahara

Rebuilding after COVID: The challenge is digital

Bundesbank’s President Weidmann criticises France and the EU. Credibility at risk?

They won this year’s Nobel for economics. Here’s why their work matters

Finland, Switzerland and New Zealand lead the way at teaching skills for the future

Pesticides: MEPs propose blueprint to improve EU approval procedure

UN rights chief urges ‘immediate dialogue’ to end Chile unrest

COP21 Breaking News: Conference of Youth Focuses on Hard Skills to Drive Greater Climate Action

Around 52 million in Near East, North Africa, suffering chronic undernourishment, new UN food agency report reveals

ZTE @ MWC14: ZTE excels in all areas at this year’s Mobile World Congress

Sustainable fishing staying afloat in developed world, sinking in poorer regions

G20 LIVE: G20 Leaders’ Communiqué Antalya Summit, 15-16 November 2015

Around 260,000 children in DR Congo’s Kasai region suffering severe acute malnutrition

Palliative Care: A Gap to fill in healthcare service

A very good morning in European markets

Billions for sustainable investments – Germany’s plan for a green recovery

Draghi’s ‘quasi’ announcement of a new era of more and cheaper money

Italy’s rescue operation Mare Nostrum shuts down with no real replacement. EU’s Triton instead might put lives at risk

3 ways AI will change the nature of cyber attacks

EU summit compromise: positive step for recovery, inadequate in the long-term

Unemployment and stagnation can tear Eurozone apart if austere policies persist

Here are four steps SMEs can take for long-term success

Trees in ‘green’ Cameroon refugee camp, bring shade and relief from ‘helter-skelter’ of life

Can we create an empathic alternative to the capitalist system?

Italian elections: a long political limbo is ahead

The role of the cyber leader in building secure and resilient digital ecosystems

This Indian school accepts plastic waste instead of fees

Taxation: Commission refers Poland to Court for failing to remove certain tax exemptions on the use of energy products by highly polluting businesses

More Stings?

Comments

  1. 22 states? I suggest 24. Non-signers out of the 27 current EU members were only three: Bulgaria, Poland and Spain. Italy signed, even though they have not yet agreed to join the Unitary Patent.

Leave a Reply to twr57 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s